Iconic Stylists Share How They Master Instagram

It’s easy to say that Instagram has become the hairstylist’s most revered platform for sharing their art. While viewed as the tool of choice for the young set, icons have also tapped into it with rigor and are influencing the digital generation equally. We gathered SIX notables—Guido Palau, Ruth Roche, Anh Co Tran, Tracey Cunningham, Scotty Cunha, and Marcia Hamilton—who, collectively, have more than 800k followers, to share what they learned while building on the platform, one post at a time.

American Salon: What have you learned most about your followers?

Tracey Cunningham: They don’t want to see perfect makeup, perfect hair, perfect life; they want real experiences, real comments, information that you can’t find on Google and they want to feel like they know who you are as a person and can relate. 

Guido Palau: I find it quite interesting what people like and don’t like. I do notice when I’m backstage at fashion shows, I get a few more followers. I feel that things that are colorful, graphic and to the point, people like the most. Obviously, if you have a famous person that people know, that post gets a lot of “likes.”

Scotty Cunha: All my followers are teen girls. It’s all girls asking for Kylie to notice them [laughs].

Ruth Roche: When I started putting up more tips, inspirational stuff and posts with a little more meat in them they responded better.

Anh Co Tran: My followers grew the day I gave Coco Rocha a pixie cut.

Marcia Hamilton: I work a ton with Willow and Jaden Smith so most of my followers are young. They love to see “bomb hair,” faces “beat and lit for the Gods.” Celebrity picsalong with cool cuts and rainbow-colored hair. Anything less gets no love.

American Salon:  Do you manage your account yourself or does someone else?

Anh Co Tran: Be authentic and genuine…it’s important that you take charge of your own postings. 

Ruth Roche: I have a friend of mine who helped me mold my postings into what people would like, besides just hair. But I do my own postings. 

Marcia Hamilton: I manage my own account because I think it would be weird and probably come off a bit impersonal if done by someone else. I’m a #Controlfreak!

American Salon: Which posting rules do you follow?

Tracey Cunningham: I do try to post once a day despite rain, hail or shine, or in my case…time zone.

Guido Palau: Be intentional. My hairstyles don’t look conventional, it’s very specific to me. I know people like to know a bit more about what's going on with me personally. But I feel the way I’ve curated my page is for other hairdressers, not for consumers. 

Ruth Roche: You know, it’s about being consistent and posting every day. I have themes like “Makeover Monday” and I follow “Throwback Thursday.” And I always post every morning. 

American Salon: Has social media tangibly impacted your business?

Ruth Roche: I think so. I met this woman at a program where I was teaching and she said, “Oh, hi, I know you from social media, I’ve been following you for years now.” And I was like, “Wow.” That’s why she came to my class.

Anh Co Tran: It has definitely increased my reputation as an influencer/trendsetter. It’s all about having exposure and visibility without hindering my creative input. 

Guido Palau: I think really what I’m doing is touching a wider audience. I love that a young person in a small town can literally take a picture on their phone, post it and create their own world that people can look into. That to me is so exciting. 

American Salon:  What types of opportunities have you gotten as a result of your social media following?

Marcia Hamilton: Instagram has opened up direct communication for me with companies and brands that I didn’t have before. I have been invited to educate at their seminars and share my techniques in how-to videos for their subscribers. 

Tracey Cunningham: I had a strong and steady career pre social media. However, I can’t deny it has enhanced my name globally.

Scotty Cunha: Instagram, specifically, has introduced so many opportunities to me. For example, I am going to Qatar for five days to teach two days of seminars and do a full day of haircuts! It’s amazing that jobs like these have come from social media.

American Salon: Can you share any specific revenue or business growth that has come about because of your social media presence?

Anh Co Tran: We get at least five new clients a day because of Instagram. 

Ruth Roche: I can’t tie it to any revenue, per se, but as far as branding, my popularity with the younger set has grown tremendously. 

Marcia Hamilton: I get new clients and jobs from Instagram frequently.

American Salon:  What are some mistakes you find upcoming stylists make when trying to grow their social media presence?

Guido Palau: I think the main thing is to have your point of view.

Marcia Hamilton: I think they should post more hair pics and fewer memes. Also, timing is everything when posting. Evening and early morning works best.

Tracey Cunningham: Keep it real; that’s what people want. In a nutshell, you want your brand to be relatable and, ultimately, you want
to be relatable. 

Many thanks to our program sponsors Matrix, Redken, Pureology, L'Oréal Professionnel, Baxter, Decleor, Essie, Mizani and SalonCentric for making this Digital Supplement possible.